South Sudan, officially known as the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa. The country gained its independence from the Republic of the Sudan in 2011, making it the newest country with widespread recognition. Its capital and largest city is Juba.
South Sudan is bordered by Sudan to the north, Ethiopia to the east, Kenya to the southeast, Uganda to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest and the Central African Republic to the west. It includes the vast swamp region of the Sudd, formed by the White Nile and known locally as the Bahr al Jabal, meaning "Mountain Sea". Sudan was occupied by Egypt under the Muhammad Ali dynasty and was governed as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium until Sudanese independence in 1956. Following the First Sudanese Civil War, the Southern Sudan Autonomous Region was formed in 1972 and lasted until 1983. A second Sudanese civil war soon broke out, ending in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Later that year, southern autonomy was restored when an Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan was formed. South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, following 98.83% support for independence in a January 2011 referendum.
South Sudan has a population of 12 million, mostly of the Nilotic peoples. Christianity is the majority religion. In September 2017 the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict said that half of South Sudan's inhabitants are under 18 years old. It is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the East African Community and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. In July 2012, South Sudan signed the Geneva Conventions. South Sudan has suffered ethnic violence and has been in a civil war since 2013. As of 2018, South Sudan ranks third lowest in the latest UN World Happiness Report, and has the highest score on the American Fund for Peace's Fragile States Index (formerly the Failed States Index).
The Nilotic people of South Sudan—the Acholi, Anyuak, Bari, Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Kaligi (Arabic Feroghe), and others—first entered South Sudan sometime before the 10th century coinciding with the fall of medieval nubia. During the period from the 15th to the 19th centuries, tribal migrations, largely from the area of Bahr el Ghazal, brought the Anyuak, Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk to their modern locations of both Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile Regions, while the Acholi and Bari settled in Equatoria. The Azande, Mundu, Avukaya and Baka, who entered South Sudan in the 16th century, established the region's largest state of Equatoria Region.
The Dinka are the largest, Nuer the second largest, the Azande the third-largest and the Bari are the fourth-largest ethnic group in the country. They are found in the Maridi, Yambio, and Tombura districts in the tropical rainforest belt of Western Equatoria, the Adio of Azande client in Yei, Central Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal. In the 18th century, the Avungara sib rose to power over the rest of Azande society and this domination continued into the 20th century. Geographical barriers, including the swamplands along the White Nile and the British preference for sending Christian missionaries to the southern regions, including its Closed District Ordinance of 1922 (see History of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan), helped to prevent the spread of Islam to the southerners, thus enabling them to retain their social and cultural heritage, as well as their political and religious institutions. The major reasons include the long history of British policy preference toward developing the Arab north and its ignoring the Black south. After Sudan's first independent elections in 1958, the continued ignoring of the south by Khartoum (lack of schools, roads, bridges) led to uprisings, revolt, and the longest civil war on the continent. , peoples include Acholi, Anyuak, Azande, Baka, Balanda Bviri, Bari, Boya, Didinga, Dinka, Jiye, Kaligi, Kuku, Lotuka, Mundari, Murie, Nilotic, Nuer, Shilluk, Toposa and Zande.
Slavery had been an institution of Sudanese life throughout history. The slave trade in the south intensified in the 19th century, and continued after the British had suppressed slavery in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Annual Sudanese slave raids into non-Muslim territories resulted in the capture of countless thousands of southern Sudanese, and the destruction of the region's stability and economy.
The Azande have had good relations with the neighbors, namely the Moru, Mundu, Pöjulu, Avukaya, Baka and the small groups in Bahr el Ghazal, due to the expansionist policy of their king Gbudwe, in the 18th century. In the 19th century, the Azande fought the French, the Belgians and the Mahdists to maintain their independence. Egypt, under the rule of Khedive Ismail Pasha, first attempted to control the region in the 1870s, establishing the province of Equatoria in the southern portion. Egypt's first governor was Samuel Baker, commissioned in 1869, followed by Charles George Gordon in 1874 and by Emin Pasha in 1878.
The Mahdist Revolt of the 1880s destabilized the nascent province, and Equatoria ceased to exist as an Egyptian outpost in 1889. Important settlements in Equatoria included Lado, Gondokoro, Dufile and Wadelai. European colonial maneuverings in the region came to a head in 1898, when the Fashoda Incident occurred at present-day Kodok; Britain and France almost went to war over the region. In 1947, British hopes to join South Sudan with Uganda as well as, leaving Western Equatoria as part of The Democratic Republic of Congo were dashed by the Rajaf Conference to unify North and South Sudan.
South Sudan has an estimated population of 8 million, but, given the lack of a census in several decades, this estimate may be severely distorted. The economy is predominantly rural and relies chiefly on subsistence farming. Around 2005, the economy began a transition from this rural dominance, and urban areas within South Sudan have seen extensive development.
The region has been negatively affected by two civil wars since Sudanese independence: from 1955 to 1972, the Sudanese government fought the Anyanya rebel army (Anya-Nya is a term in the Madi language which means 'snake venom') during the First Sudanese Civil War, followed by the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) in the Second Sudanese Civil War for over 20 years. As a result, the country suffered serious neglect, a lack of infrastructural development, and major destruction and displacement. More than 2.5 million people have been killed and millions more have become refugees both within and outside the country.